Take out the grill…Summer is here

Summer is definitely here! If the temperature did not let you know, then the threats of storms and multiple grill outs will make sure you know it’s summer time. Earlier this week, I attended a ‘Jerk Fest’, which reminded me of the importance of grilling foods.

According to online dictionaries, Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a very hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice. Once marinated the meat is usually cooked on a large grill, which gives it that yummy Smokey flavor.

Grilling has long been recognized as a healthier form of cooking when compared to methods of cooking such as frying. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to this method of cooking.

Advantages of grilling

  • Fast method of cooking—the food is in direct contact with the heat so it greatly reduces the cooking time which makes it a great option on those busy evenings when time is little but little mouths are asking for food.
  • Suitable for a variety of foods—anything from meats and fish to fruits and vegetables are good grilling candidates.
  • Reduces fat content of food—The main reason grilling is recommended as a healthier method of cooking. Quite a bit of the fat and grease melts away which makes it a heart friendly method of cooking.
  • Improves color and flavor of food—Of course we all can relate to the delicious, smokey flavor that is a signature for grilled foods.

Disadvantages of grilling

  • Needs constant attention—Because the food is exposed to the direct flame and the melting of the fat can cause a flare up, it is important to keep a close eye on it.
  • Food overcooks quickly—this poses the most problems for grilled foods. Not only does the overcooking cause the food to char or burn thereby spoiling the taste, the charring seems to be carcinogen. Some studies show that there is a link between cancer and eating charred/burnt food.
  • Only suits thin pieces of food.

According to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, here are some tips to prevent your meats from charring:

  • Remove fatty areas
  • Pre-cook meat in the microwave before placing it on the grill
  • Make sure the coals of the grill are not directly below the meat
  • Avoid grilling meats until they are well done or burnt